- Actors: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlene Jobert, Michel Debord, Birger Malmsten
- Directors: Jean-Luc Godard
- Producers: Anatole Dauman
- Format: PAL
- Language: French
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Nouveaux
- DVD Release Date: 14 Mar. 2005
- Run Time: 100 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0007NLS7Y
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,337 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Masculin Feminin [DVD]
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Director Jean-Luc Godard's seventh feature is a study of mid-1960s French youth. Paul (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is a young man fresh from military service who falls for aspiring pop star Madeleine (Chantal Goya), who gets him a job on the magazine where she works. But he soon becomes more interested in his left wing activities and his relationship with his two female flatmates (Marlene Jobert and Catherine-Isabelle Duport) than Madeleine. Watch out for a brief appearance by Brigitte Bardot.
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Personally, I find it very stimulating. The main theme is the relationship between women and men, with emphasis on the fight for power in relationships. The sexes are somewhat like caricatures - the male are small-time/pseudo-revolutionairies, who are desperately wanting the women, whereas the women, with the new sense of freedom that emerged in the 60s, are laid-back, hard to get and slightly materialistic (and also, in this film, - and especially Chantal Goya - absolutely gorgeous). The caracters are very self-aware, but that doesn't keep us from getting new insights into human relationships. There is a lot of dialogue, often stylized, in the form of questionaires.
I would guess what Godard is aiming at is giving a portrait of the mid-60s young generation, a generation very distinct from all that came before. Whether he made it or not, it is a film that leaves you thinking, and makes you want to get hold of a time machine and see if this was really what was going on. Witness the spark of "15 minutes of fame", a 60's pioneer for such films as Sofia Coppolas "Bling Ring" (2013).
In the following, I established a hierarchy in the evaluation process, with x from 1, via 2, 3 and 5 Godard's, to cumulatively 11 in all.
x=1 Essential Godard: Masculin, féminin (1966),
x=2 Godard A-Z: À bout de souffle (1960), Prénom Carmen (1983),
x=3 Godard stars: Vivre sa vie (1962), Le mépris (1963), Alphaville (1965),
x=5 Godard politique: La bande à part (1964), Made in U.S.A.(1966),
Deux ou trois choses ... (1966), La Chinoise (1967), Week-End (1967).
The various x layers have tried to bundle Godard's production: After the base case, come his first and last of the series (hence A and Z), one step further his star movies (Anna Karina, Brigitte Bardot, Eddie Constantine), then finally his political set of five.
Some Godard fans - I am one since 1960 (sic), but not the only one, I am well aware - will miss Pierrot le fou, Une femme mariée, others on the list, and may object to my No 1. In any case, all eleven of the complete list are worth seeing again, perhaps in the suggested order.
The dvd copy in original black and white is very acceptable. Given that many outside noises came in rather crudely when recording, sound is also ok. So if you haven't yet, go for it!
PS For those who miss Jean-Paul Belmondo in Pierrot le fou, I suggest to hunt for one early Godard short - Charlotte et son Jules.